With almost 100 vendors signed up at time of writing, Passion will offer three days of kinky shopping and workshops, from Friday November 17 to Sunday 19, with a fetish/play party night on Saturday 18.
Location for the whole event, including the party, is the MesseHalle Hamburg-Schnelsen, on the north-west outskirts of the city.
Pervs with longer memories may recognise this venue as the location of the German Fetish Fair for the two years (2010 and ’11) when the German Fetish Ball Weekend decamped from Berlin to Hamburg.
A big plus, when compared with the kind of venues the majority of fetish fairs and expos are obliged to make do with, is that Hamburg-Schnelsen is a proper modern exhibition centre — spacious, brightly lit and offering full professional facilities.
The downside, for anyone without a car who wants to experience the famous delights of Hamburg, is that it is a pricey cab ride (or long bus ride) from the city centre.
The experience of the GFB’s Hamburg years was that the distance from the city centre to the MesseHalle was something of a deterrent to visitors.
But it must be remembered that all the other events of the GFB’s Hamburg weekends were held in more central parts of the city. So the Fair was the one event that for many visitors involved extra effort and expense.
Passion, however, is all in one place, so its location on the outskirts may not be such an issue. It’s also good to know that there are local hotels serving the venue (a couple — Hotel Ausspann and Racket Inn — are recommended on the Passion website).
So for those coming from out of town to visit for more than a day, or to work at this event, it is perfectly possible to avoid long/expensive commutes if you don’t mind staying outside the centre.
Organised by M A Messemanagement, an exhibition firm run by Michael von Enzberg and his partner Anne, Passion could be seen as northern Germany’s answer to BoundCon, the bondage fest that takes place each spring in Munich.
For BoundCon also attracts a large number of exhibitors compared with the GFF or Fetish Evolution — mainly from the BDSM scene but also including a number of fetish clothing and accessories brands. And it also includes a party.
But there the similarities seem to end. The first Passion takes place in the peak shopping season before Christmas, one week before Black Friday. This should maximise its appeal as a dedicated seasonal gift fair for the kink community.
Organiser M A has also managed to pick dates that do not ‘inadvertently’ clash with any other big German fetish weekend — although Passion is taking place just one week after Germany’s other big fetish debut of 2017, Avantgardista in Munich.
At publication time, some 97 exhibitors had booked stands for the first Passion fair.
Of these, more than 80 are German companies, ranging from the smallest hobby-type businesses to internationally known brands.
Most of these are offering BDSM-related products — no surprise to anyone who has ever been to any German fetish fair and noticed how prevalent BDSM manufacturers are among the exhibitors.
That said, Germany’s fetish clothing scene is also substantial, and quite well represented at Passion’s debut. More than a dozen clothing brands familiar from other fetish fairs are taking stands in Hamburg.
Among the domestic clothing brands you’ll find there — mostly but not all latex specialists — are Amatoris, Chronomatic, Couture Latex, Feitico, Fernando Berlin, Latex Line, LLdeSaxe Fashion, Luxury Noire, Pony Couture, TO.mTO Berlin, Tourniquet and Très Bonjour.
In fact, the only non-domestic latex designer participating in Passion’s debut is also its only British exhibitor: Amentium.
Passion also boasts solo exhibitors from Poland and Switzerland, while Austria is fielding two vendors, Belgium is offering four and the Dutch have managed seven.
You can find a full list of Passion exhibitors (correct at publication time) on Page Two of this article.
Throughout the three days of the fair (Friday-Sunday), Passion will also host a series of workshops in up to four dedicated rooms at the Messe venue.
Topics covered on the first day alone range from spanking for beginners to use of single tail whips in sessions; from tantric massage to erotic hypnosis; and from bondage and BDSM for beginners to latex-making.
Other sessions will cover steel bondage, Japanese bondage, waxing games, medical stapler play, erotic readings and a photo workshop with two models.
Most workshop topics repeat at least once on different days, so there will be at least two chances to catch any given session — useful as there can be as many as four workshops happening simultaneously in any given time slot.
If Passion’s impending debut is something you were unaware of before reading this article, the reason could be that you don’t live in Germany or speak German.
Because the great majority of the publicity material produced for the launch event — including the entire Passion website and its Facebook pages — has been published in the German language only.
Given the scale of its first outing, one would assume Passion’s organisers looked at how the existing three large German fetish events with fairs — BoundCon, Fetish Evolution and the German Fetish Ball Weekend — market themselves to trade and public.
And they must therefore have noticed that all three vigorously promote themselves in both German and English languages in order to attract exhibitors and visitors from beyond the German home market.
So does Passion’s mostly non-bilingual launch marketing mean it was conceived as an exclusively domestic event for German businesses to sell to German customers — ‘a local fair for local people’ as The League of Gentlemen might say?
I put this question to Michael von Enzberg, who assured me that this was by no means the case. On the contrary, he said, he and his partner had “a great interest in positioning Passion internationally”.
They wanted to encourage visitors from the UK and Scandinavia, and a “primary goal” was to “strengthen the presence of latex couture from abroad”.
And then he added with refreshing frankness: “We see it as a mistake that we have not started bilingually from the beginning with our documents.”
A few documents, such as an exhibitor invitation and a printed visitor’s guide, were available in English versions, he added. But it was unfortunate that M A did not “commit someone who translated our documents into English from the beginning”.
“We will not repeat this error,” Michael promised. “We are going to be bilingual in 2018 with all our important documents — website, press release, brochures etc.
“We want to and we will expand the international positioning. With the number of exhibitors, product diversity and also the supporting programme, we can make an attractive offer to visitors from abroad.”
I take comfort from this commitment. If in its start-up year this event can attract almost 100 exhibitors just from Germany and its nearest neighbours, imagine how much bigger and more international in scope it could be in year two with full bilingual marketing!
On Page Two you can find an overview of this year’s programme including ticket prices, useful links and a full list of exhibitors confirmed at publication time.READ MORE QUICK LINK: